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Author Notes: Putting a few breadcrumbs in a pasta dish is a common Italian trick that adds the right counterpoint of texture, taste and color to a simple sauce. Here I’ve paired them with some peppery fall cauliflower and salty pancetta. Owing to the current shortage of pine nuts, I’ve substituted unsalted pepitos – hulled pumpkin seeds – which are more abundant (that is, cheaper), and add both nutty flavor and a shade of green to this otherwise very pale dish. - cheese1227 —cheese1227
Food52 Review: This lovely simple pasta incorporates different textures and balances flavors nicely. The lightly sautéed cauliflower just starts to get crispy edges. A touch of toasty breadcrumbs and lemon juice goes a long way. - Stephanie —The Editors
Serves 8 cups of pasta
- 1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, broken into bite sized pieces
- 1 pound of orecchiette (if unavailable use conchiglie or cavatelli)
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- 1/4 cup of good olive oil
- 3 thick slices of pancetta, cut into small dice.
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 lemon wedge
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- Set a large pot of salted water to boil. When it gets to a boil, drop the cauliflower in and blanch for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- In a large, non stick skillet, dry toast first the bread crumbs until they are browned and then the pepitas until they start to pop. Set both ingredients aside.
- Drop the pasta into the water to cook until al dente.
- Put the oil in the skillet and fry the bacon pieces until crispy. Add the cauliflower and chopped garlic to the skillet and sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Drain pasta (reserving a quarter cup of the pasta water). Add pasta to skillet with 1/4 cup of pasta water. Add lemon juice, pecorino cheese, and parsley and mix well. Adjust for salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs and pepitas.
- Serve warm.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cauliflower Recipe